We've been waiting a long time for the Asus Transformer Book -- my ZDNet colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes was writing about it last June -- but it looks like the Windows 8 convertible notebook is almost here. It's finally shown up for pre-order at MacMall for a cool $1,479.99.
Why so much? The Transformer Book offers some good specs to go along with the ability to switch between laptop and tablet modes. You get a 13.3-inch touchscreen with 1,920x1,080 resolution (full 1080p HD), along with an Intel Core i7-3517U processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and a 128GB solid state drive. Of course, you also get a full version of Windows 8 as well as a backlit keyboard that detaches to let you switch between computing modes.
Asus will argue that it's cheaper to purchase the Transformer Book than to buy a separate Windows 8 tablet and laptop, but I'm guessing it's going to have to work pretty hard to convince buyers of that value proposition given the sticker shock many will feel over that price tag. While its specs aren't nearly as impressive, Microsoft's own Surface Pro tablet with an optional Type Cover provides the same flexibility for a couple hundred dollars less and in a more convenient tablet form factor. There's supposedly a Core i5 flavor of the Transformer Book due at some point, so that may shave a few bucks off the cost.
Is the Asus Transformer Book the Windows 8 portable you've been looking for? Or is the price too high compared to the alternatives? Let us know in the Talkback section below.